How Moves to Impeach Tambuwal as Speaker May Never Succeed, House Rules Silent on Procedures
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday formally defected from the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP), to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Reacting immediately to the defection, the National Working Committee of the PDP after a meeting with the PDP caucus members in the green legislative chamber asked the speaker to do the needful and resign.
According to the PDP, the speaker should no longer hold on to his position by virtue of the fact that the party, the APC which he now belongs to is in the minority.
Although the House members may decide to remove the speaker if it so desires, the PDP members in the House who may likely want to take that action may not be able to muster the required two-thirds votes required to impeach the speaker, even though they are in the majority.
An impeachment of the speaker would require 240 out of the 360 members to agree on the move.
Currently, the PDP leads with 189, while the APC has 159 members. Smaller opposition parties cover the remaining slots.
The situation is even more compounded for the PDP as the Standing Orders of the House which spells out procedures and practices of the House and its committees do not expressly provide for the impeachment of its speaker.
Hence, reported moves by the ruling PDP and the presidency to remove the Speaker Tambuwal may prove futile.
The House Standing Orders do not in any of its sections provide for the speaker’s removal from office on the grounds of defection and anti-party activities, allegations that have been thrown on Tambuwal in some quarters.
It does not even spell out removal procedures in the event of ‘gross misconduct.’
Section 7 Rule 26(a) of the House Standing Orders is the closest the rule book gets to the removal of the speaker.
The section states, “In the absence of the speaker and deputy speaker without any communications to the Clerk of the House within a period of three consecutive days or where both have either been certified dead or incapacitated, the House may elect, for that purpose, someone who shall preside. Such member shall be known as Speaker Pro-tempore.”
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